Thursday, June 23, 2011

Field Gray

He still tells a few jokes but by this point in this series he occupies a landscape so hellish that their about as warming as chuckles in the torture room, this series removes all pretensions of detective novel for a more extensive look and a reexamination of this period of history. The monstrosity of the French concentration camps (in place at the start of the war read Koestler’s Scum of the Earth), the idiotic and murderous insanity of Operation Barbarossa, the murderous onslaught of the Red Army on the German population, Soviet POW camps, and the after war maneuverings of the French, American, Russian, East and West German intelligence agencies gives you a harrowing vision of humanity in a time of crisis and a denouncement of the idea that any glory could ever be achieved from something as horrible as war. Field Gray is a panoramic novel of history despite some trappings of detective and spy thriller still in place to add tension and movement to the plot. Morally ambiguous, firmly placed in historical context but not drowning you in over research, funny, and horrifying this series sets the bar for historical spy or detective novel, or the more general historic novel rather painfully high.

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